President’s Blog

Ego- corporations vs. eco-activism, which do you stand for?

As many of you know, I’ve been working on a film for the last few years as a sequel to CONFESSIONS OF AN ECO-TERRORIST, a passion-project I started that became a major part of my life and a movie that has been seen by millions of people all over the world. The original film did well to re-direct dialogue about the “T” word being thrown around at eco-activists; like sexual misconduct accusations are today.  Hey, I was known as the eco-monk, so I have absolutely no issues there… Thank God. 

Now for the subject at hand: I’ve been involved with ocean conservation since I was a child on Cape Cod. After I moved to California as a TV Producer, I found myself lucky enough to hook up with Paul Watson, Al Johnson, and Bob Hunter… all early eco-activists. This was 1981.  As a Producer for the number one rated NBC television program “Real People”, I was a perfect fit to cover the activities of a small group of very special activists hoping to save the oceans. Lucky us… we were there for the birth of the modern media world.

Paul Watson had recently left Greenpeace under some minor rule violation… some say thrown out by a lawyer scared of his activism. He claims the lawyer said: “You obviously do not know what Greenpeace is all about!” He formed Sea Shepherd to be able to stay active and not only continue his mission, but make it more powerful, efficient and effective. This is his claim, and I believe him.  Let’s face it; lawyers are like bad parents just there to tell you why not to do things, and why to abide by a bunch of stupid rules.  I know, I know… they keep you out of trouble, but we were out to change the world…and so we did, and continue to do so.

I was told Sea Shepherd’s Rule #1 was no lawyers on the board of directors. The second rule that won me over was: you had to have gone on a campaign to be eligible to be a director. My “active” political participation was ignored by my boss, George Schlatter, a TV and film legend, but also an unknown eco-hero… He broadcast the first major “hero” piece on the Sea Shepherd Conversation Society (SSCS) in the early 1980s. Big deal you say? Back then 40-50 million people watched every week. George broadcast stories I did on Paul twice, and brought him on-air live both times. This was a big deal. A huge deal!

 I actually got busted covering Paul in Japan in 1981 for George. This is a story for another day, but I became hooked on what we could accomplish. It was very clear to me on how useful my services could be for the growing cause of conservation.  I was very heavily involved in many of the early campaigns, and handled all media with a photographer named Mark Gaede back in the day. Gaede bought the first flag and T-shirts and the rest is history. After what seemed like a blip in time, because of our tactics, the camera, and television broadcasts worldwide, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society became known all over the globe, as a major force, fighting for the good of the planet.

I resigned from the Board of Directors in 1992 along with directors Sue Rodrigues-Pasture and Myra Finklestein when the good Captain wanted to pay his then girl-friend Lisa De Stephano. None of us but Paul could see Lisa’s talents, and to pay her…  for what services? I look back at this day to my never being “all in” again.  This directors’ meeting was held at Nat’s café in Santa Monica California.  Sea Shepherd was an all-volunteer organization at that time. Now I understand basic pay for services, but I also believe the fight cannot be taken to the enemy without real volunteer activists.  At the time offices like SSCS maintain today were for Greenpeace.

I spent the next years on my mission to save the oceans… sometimes with SSCS, sometimes not.  I often say in my talks that I’ve been thrown out of the Sea Shepherd organization 4 times… until I resigned officially this summer. Through the years, I continued to help Paul with campaigns I thought important.  My position with the Society has been spotty, but Paul was like a brother, godfather to my children and visa versa…. Looking back, a kind of shitty brother… as he never once stuck up for me against any number of tactical, and/or money disputes with any number of ex-wives and girl friends…and so on and so forth.

How could I take it for so many years, you might ask? 

Well I think if you research my history in the eco-movement, you’ll find me animal and eco-issue-oriented. I could give a damn about the politics of this group or that. I called a spade a spade and tried to win for the oceans. I do this today.  When I was recently removed as captain, and replaced as campaign leader on the 2017 Virus Hunter Campaign for being too aggressive and uncompromising… really… I have the email! I travelled to British Columbia and did my own thing. Today I am involved in the Skeena River management on behalf of the Gitxsan people as they fight for total territorial sovereignty.

I feel it is everyone’s duty to do what they feel is important. I’ve been involved in the “salmon issue” longer then SSCS and 100% support their actions, assisting Dr. Alex Morton.  I think Alex and the First Nations warriors should get everyone’s support (www.alexandramorton.ca)

These actions will continue and I hope SSCS will continue to support Dr.Morton’s efforts to get salmon farms out of BC. I will continue to work toward that end with the resources at hand.

For the last few years I was lucky enough to become associated with legendary Conservationist Doug Tompkins. Doug’s untimely death has set me on my own path. Doug will still be remembered in one thousand years time long after little pirates like Peter Brown and Paul Watson are forgotten.  http://www.tompkinsconservaion.org

Doug felt that some times to progress as humans, we must do a 360 degree turn and look back to the future… The future of sustainable local food and resources… 

My new film looks at this very subject. Does more money and progress win out when we become them, and allow corporate branding to squash the very innovative approach that got us this far?  My 30 year involvement in the “Branding fight” between Paul Watson and Greenpeace taught me one thing: 

BRANDING KILLS WILDLIFE , while enriching individual entrepreneurs, and allowing populations to be brainwashed by controlling media and press. 

This is straight out of the book of FASCISM 101…. Hitler did it best, and where did that leave the world? 

I was brought up to QUESTION AUTHORITY… I suggest the time is now. Today eco-groups living inside their little social media bubbles are becoming ego-groups. Supporters need to ask what is really getting done?

I am continuing to develop a project I started with Doug, GAIANetwork.net . It is a step back to throw support to the grassroots organizations.

Perhaps the Greenpeace way of doing nothing and depending on the “feel good” money factor to let them continue to bitch… maybe Sea Shepherd’s new approach of signing on with, in my opinion, dubious third world governments to attempt projects the governments aren’t willing to do themselves; if this is your thing. 

Go for it! I will take a different path.

President Eisenhower when he retired and warned America: “beware the industrial military complex”, America should have listened.  As an ocean activist continuing a life long cause I say to all: “beware the corporatization of activism”.

I have fought hard to keep the visual history of the eco movement free to all to use and peruse. If Sea Shepherd or any other eco-corporation tries to control “the story” beware. If you want the public to believe and follow, then turn on the cameras and let your actions speak for themselves. Good actions, good press. Forget the exclusivity and let those who made history tell it.  CONFESSIONS II: “we have met the enemy…” addresses just this. I think the discussion will lead to others see the light and continue the fight where it does most good. 

I guess what I want to say as the year comes to an end and you are looking for solid eco-donations… look local. Projects and small groups close to your home.  If you want the T-shirt and all the PR material from coffee cups to beer coolers, I can’t save you… but if the group has a larger “e-commerce” then “operations page … then I advise that you are spending more on salaries then results.  Look for and promote results. I’ve been promoting Orca Protection & Rescu, but there are good groups and individuals out there if you look. You might not get the cool T-shirt as seen on TV, but you’ll get the results.

For Wild Oceans!

This week a year ago my worst nightmares all came true as The Sea Shepherd Society sued me to stop release of my new film. They now claimed exclusivity on the film library I only recently donated to SSCS.  I have had to hire a lawyer to get the rights back to my footage so I can use it to tell the real story and express opinions of any, and all involved… unbelievable! Sea Shepherd was acting with some sort of cult mentality. Their actions have turned off many original activists and all who question the emperor get canned, or so it seems.  

Today I can say that we settled and the film will be released! A great big never mind… Never mind?? Really? 

If you have opinions and want to keep involved, join us. We won’t pay you, but your passions will be acknowledged and supported. Although Mr. Watson appears to be trying to secure a legacy he really doesn’t fully deserve, I hope his present supporters who believe the myth will take a few minutes to look at their financials and decide for yourselves. They , too, are welcome.

As the 60 foot super Sea Shepherd yacht “ALCHEMY” sails south for the winter, The gaianetwork.net boat the Wii Seeks remains in Friday Harbor to start working to protect the Southern Resident Orcas come spring. Every dollar we raise will be spent on enforcement.

The fate of the planet and all who live on it is up to you and me; to all of us. Whatever your talent is, utilize it – as everyone is unique and your personal abilities and passions put to good use is what makes a positive difference.

Keep on fighting the good fight. 

August 9th Update

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We are still in Port Hardy as the ferry I was planning to take broke down so I will go up to Prince Rupert tomorrow to visit my old friend and activist Gordon Sebastian. Gordon and I sailed against the Columbus celebration ships in 1991, and hopefully meet others who came with him. Wii Seeks was a leader of the group and our boat is proudly named in his honor…a great man and true activist. If you are interested in the story, read Bob Hunter’s book: “Red Blood”.

Yesterday another old friend showed up in for medical treatment from his lighthouse station up north. Paul Whalen just showed up, and he is the best. It was great seeing him again and he hooked us up with others who can certainly help. As all our stops and delays on this adventure have opened up opportunities unimagined. It is interesting how things, even screw-ups, work out for the best if you have the right attitude.

While I’m gone for a few days, Frances, the mate, will stay with the boat and take a deserved break, I hope.

Frances Buchanan is by far the hardest working person I have ever met. She came to me recommended by Scott West and what a find. She is “old” Sea Shepherd and I am proud to be able to sail with her. Young people like Frances give me hope for the future. She is dedicated to the cause like no one’s business and she is not afraid. About I’d guess a hundred pounds soaking wet, she has the backbone of a tiger and heart of a lion. We all could learn from her. I have to admit that my trying to keep up has worn this old man out. For those with doubt about the future, look to humans like Frances to carry the torch. There are others in my past who were great, but this is now, and Frances is out there doing what is necessary for us all to survive.

So the rest of you need to get off the couch and do something… anything positive to help. It is your future after all, make it count. Frances will be thereto set an example. I am sure.

 

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Sullivan Bay

Aug 6th

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We’ve spent the last few days on a salmon farm tour of the Queen Charlotte Straits, British Columbia, Canada. This wilderness teems with eagles, bear, whales, rare seabirds, and wild salmon… well that is now, the future is still in doubt. The last two days we have visited a dozen farms and or proposed farm sites in a very small geographical area… the boat only goes 8 knots so we are not speeding around by any means.

These farms have colorful names like Midsummer Farm, Arrow Pass, Upper Retreat, Blunder Pass, Potts Bay, Glacier Falls, and even a couple called Cecil and Maude. Actually the last two were my favorite. Cecil was empty with abandoned pens and buildings, and Maude was gone, hopefully forever.

Now where they went, and why they were closed is research for another day, but I have my suspicions that once these corporations pollute and contaminate one cove, they move on to another. We also visited two “proposed sites” perhaps getting to view them the last time in their natural state.

Another coincidence appears to be that the marinas and local tie-ups where we stayed the night were all once famous and well known to salmon fishermen. They too have quaint names like Alert Bay, Echo Bay, and Sullivan Bay, but the fisherman are no longer catching fish. As we sit and watch the sun set around communal tables you hear the stories of old. The great catches that all fishermen brag about, but today they all end with: “well I got nothing today”.

At Pierre’s marina where you could once catch 100 pound salmon off the fuel dock; now there is nothing. Today, Pierre has a well-known pig roast each Saturday night to attract the yachting crowd. One has to think back to when the main dish must have been salmon, wild salmon.

Have we humans come to the point that we are just accepting the death of wilderness, or have we just lost the courage to face the unknown?

The crew of Gaianetwork.net are not afraid of the wild. We cherish it, and I relish the fact that nature is in control, not me. We believe that these open pen salmon farms should go, not only for the health and pollution reasons, but for downright primal reasons. Who are we as a species? Must we control and dominate everything, or can we revert back to our ancestors’ way of thinking to become more in tune with nature. Primitive tribes are in touch with their environments; they need to be to survive. Most humans today are not, and we as a species are not better off for it.

A great conservationist Doug Tompkins once explained it like this: if you are walking a path and come to a cliff, do you precede forward to your death, or is the prudent thing to do to take a 180 degree turn and continue forward… just in the opposite direction. Modern thought seems to say step forward no matter what, but I’ll listen to Doug. Progress is not just forward, and we as a species should beware.

It is a question all of us must answer now, or we will pass the problem down the road to our children and grand children. I will make the stand today and hope others will join me.

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Echo Bay

Aug 3,2018

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Spending the night in Echo Bay a beautiful and idyllic harbor and home to Billy Proctor’s museum. Billy and Dr. Morton wrote a book about their experiences in the Broughton Archipelago. I would highly recommend the read.

Today we left Sointula as the local salmon fleet was arriving back home and the place was planning to be fully booked. We enjoyed our stay and got first class boat work done by the Tarkanen Boat yard. The people were talented and experienced.

We left early and first took a look at Swanson Island, a location where a group of First Nations individuals led by Ernest Alfred . After a number of close pass bys and photography the farmers got boats in the water to investigate. I was hoping they would come close so we could have conversations, but they stayed off and watched.

The next stop was Midsummer Farm, also owned by Marine Harvest a huge Norwegian corporation, and one of the five major corporations that own farms around the world. I investigated the companies past efforts in Norway and Chile. I was certainly not impressed by their attitude toward nature. Norway presently has killed off most of their wild stock, and Chile had no stock to begin with, so they are just polluting fiords, and estuaries. In Chile I witnessed Fiords quarantined because of the ISA virus.still loaded with farms. The Chilean salmon farms take most of the local wild catch, thus leaving the local people with little fish to eat. For those who believe that salmon farms feed the “people” and are this good… the people they feed are the rich who frequent sushi bars in places like Ohio. So let’s get over that.

At Midsummer farm we picked up a tail. Now I heard that some high priced security firm had been hired to protect the farms and that I should beware. First, I’m doing nothing wrong, and second the only security in the world that I might fear are Afghan security, and when last I checked, they work with me.

Anyhow they were really clever security and followed at a distance looking like a fishing boat. When I did a “crazy Ivan” and took a trip around an island in Blunden Pass… they appeared speeding around the other side probably wondering what the hell happened to me… busted. Frances got good pictures as they sped by and left for the day.

My feeling about security and tails is they just say a company has something to hide and all the more reason to look. Well that’s what we are here for, so we’ll keep watching, and visual media, and truth are what makes a difference today.

Tomorrow we will be off to new adventures.

As a side note we have had 100% support from the people of Canada against these farms. Maybe it is time these people vote in a new government. We in the states are attempting the same, but that is another story altogether.

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Sointula BC, Canada

July 29, 2018

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The Wii Seeks was pulled out of the water to day to fix a stuffing box issue. While travelling north we started having a problem so turned around to get it looked at professionally. The trip north of Port Hardy is sometimes a wilderness adventure and one doesn’t want to begin with all systems go… I was recently contacted by Paul Whalen an old friend who is lighthouse keeper off Caution Point, a safe harbor offered if need be. Thank you Paul.

We pulled into Sointula by chance and, I have to say this island is one of the very sane human civilizations I’ve come across in a long time. The town, founded by the Finnish settlers in search of a more equal society moved here. Their town motto is equality and co-operation for all and they seen to live it. Everyone I have met, including a lady fisherwoman who recognized me as “sea shepherd” and said: “she wanted nothing to do with what I was selling…

Well I am definitely NOT Sea Shepherd, and it seems I should make up a T-Shirt! Anyhow after explaining things, we started talking salmon farms. She’s definitely opposed to them and has even caught pregnant escaped farmed females in her catches…. I would assume to biologists and others, that this would be concerning?
What sort of new predator have we let loose on coastal eco-systems? Another myth busted that these Franken-fish will not reproduce.

You have to understand that the salmon farmed here and elsewhere are Atlantic Salmon, not indigenous to the area at all. You see Pacific Salmon are obviously smarter and “don’t farm well”. Whether this means that they don’t like swimming circles in their own poop, or just have bad attitudes toward confinement; I don’t know. It is strange that you can’t bring a non-indigenous seed into Canada, but I guess millions of foreign fish are cool as long as money is to be made. Once again human greed wins out.

These fishermen and women, along with the indigenous people get it, why shouldn’t the rest of us. I realize it is government, by nature, that never listens to those individuals who, by experience and basic knowledge know what is going on. They would rather listen to regulation led bureaucrats and book taught scientists who might never have left the Ivory towers where they normally reside. We need good science to make decisions, but sometimes debate lasts longer then the species one is trying to save. My suggestion is to slow down. Playing god has never worked out well for humans. I can name numerous examples… start by asking Australians about Cane Toads.

Anyhow just now a gentleman came by to question me on whether I had any solutions or was I just protesting… My reply was we can only do so much, but the first solution is to get rid of the farms. This will not bring back wild salmon, but it will be a start. The next are forestry practices which we humans have been attempting to address. The next is run off which we all have a part in, and my biggest beef locally is the city of Victoria still dumping raw sewage daily in the local waters. We have heard of the tons of the prescription drugs, and other pollutants that are beginning to show up in everyone’s system. Yes, I told the gentleman, there are lots of issues but we at gaianetwork want the farms gone. Let the larger organizations step in with solutions.

The GMO issue is still undecided by corporations and scientists, but logic tells me to beware. The first tests show rats fed GMO corn form non-malignant tumors, and these farmed fish are covered in tumors. One doesn’t need to be a scientist to make that connection. Go to Dr. Alex Morton’s website to see the viruses and pollutants found in fish sampled in the past. Make up your own mind.

I am not one to dwell on the negative, and towns like Sointula give me hope of what societies can be like through co-operation, common sense, and respect for others. We all share the same planet; let’s all take positive steps to make the world a better place for all. The time for talk is over. Get off your couch and make a difference, I have and you can too.

-Peter

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Alert Bay – Save the Wild Salmon

 

July 26th Alert Bay

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We are presently at anchor at a harbor called Alert Bay BC. Today will be a bit of a late start as the fog this morning is so thick you can’t see more then a few hundred yards… Radar is useful, but we’ll wait a few hours to depart. We have an appointment with First Nations friends in Prince Rupert in a few days, and then we will do what we came up here to do.

And what is that you might ask? We intend to help First Nations, the orca, bear, eagles, and oceans stay wild by getting open pen salmon farms banned from Canada. Other then feeding the rich in sushi bars, there is nothing good I can say about the open pen farms.

Much like the cigarette companies did in the 40s when they gave servicemen free smokes, and thus hooking a whole generation on a substance the companies knew was bad. I propose that the large farming companies are doing the same thing now. Cheap food, made sexy by giant corporations who know all about the pesticides, antibiotics, and not to mention GMO fish being fed GMO food. Does anyone care about public health? In Europe, the initial testing on what GMO food is doing to the public are just starting to come out. You can look them up, but the initial tests are not good… non-malignant tumors in rats fed GMO corn.

I am sure the companies will refute these results and hire scientists of their own, but take a look at pictures of the farmed fish. You decide what to think? I tell people instead of eating farmed salmon, eat the wrapper it’s wrapped in as it might in fact be better for you. Give it up now before it is too late.

After the escape of millions of non-indigenous franken-fish in Washington State, licenses will no longer be issued, and for now, fish farming will be out of the San Juan Islands. I hope for good. I am sorry it took a huge eco disaster to get the public’s attention, but way to go Washington!

Canada should be the next country to put health of their eco-systems ahead of commercial interests. Remember, money is nice, but in the end when the oceans are gone, we can’t eat money.

I believe because of the political situation in Canada, this year might be it for the farms in Canada also. Dr. Alex Morton continues her fight on the Sea Shepherd yacht Martin Sheen, and Gaianetwork will take the M/V WII SEEKS wherever local activists suggest. I am only too sorry that Sea Shepherd continues to sue me for speaking out against them, and this ego squabble hurts both our efforts to fight for the oceans. Petty corporate squabbles like that between Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd have hindered eco-efforts for 40 years. In the past I have spoken out about that also.

Once again, in this hour of need for the oceans it is a shame that eco-corporations need to put money and ego over the environment. It is time we all co-operate no matter our differences.

We have offered our help to all, and will continue to do so in the future. Let the public and history decide.

Although I have had some well publicized legal issues to deal with, I will not let shortsighted individuals stop me from doing what is right. I cannot just sit back and talk about the issues like many pundents, other individuals agree have stepped up to help. I have found able… more then able crew in activist Frances Buchanan to help on board. Elora West, Scott West, Dr Valencic , Dave Howitt, Dr. Myra Finkelstein, Peter Wallerstein, Lisa D., and even Rod Coronado have helped. Grass roots support is across the board especially from those on whose shoulders’ the Sea Shepherd reputation was built.

Next week we will be meeting with Gordon Sebastian and the First Nations activists with whom I worked with in 1991. Grass roots support is growing daily.

It is time for full participation of everyone who cares for the oceans to make a stand. Do your part and spread the word. Ask where fish is caught and make sensible food choices. Corporations, even bad ones need your money to survive. All positive action helps, especially if we can get the general public active. Start with yourself and your passion will spread to others. Light a fire for wild oceans!

Join us and make a difference. All donations to Gaianetwork.net go directly to the campaign.

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Let’s STOP messing with Mother Nature!

We have lost another orca, L41 from the Southern Resident pod. There are now 72 left. L41 was significant to the Southern Resident population because he and one other male, J1, fathered a majority of the whales born since 1990. J1 fathered 16 whales, and L41 fathered 20 whales, according to NOAA.

At the same moment in history, we humans are beginning to panic over the spread of a new corona virus. China has been shut down entire cities the size of Los Angeles, so the 900+ deaths we hear about need to be way under estimated. Something is scary when the imperial government that has, in the recent past, had no issue gunning down a 1000 dissenters at Tiananmen Square, now quarantines entire cities. Is this the pandemic some have warned us of? I certainly hope not.

As human population expands and wilderness contracts, nature suffers. The earth is a hugely complicated interdependent network that has for millions of years sustained itself. The earth is presently facing a mass extinction blamed not on a volcano or asteroids, but on us. Because we have chosen to dominate nature rather than live with it. Simple as that. There are fewer animals, bugs, bacteria, fugues, all that wonderful stuff that keeps nature in check. You know, like checking and controlling viruses… Think about it.

Would we pay more attention to our environment if 2% of all humans perished due to a disease run amuck in nature because of us?  It could happen, and obviously today’s governments are very worried about it. So what do we do? I say maybe pay attention to the whales…

The Sothern Resident Orcas have many issues. The first being: years ago when so many were captured and traumatized to load aquariums for our pleasure. Some say education…  I disagree. We  humans, at least some of us have learned that lesson and orca shows are now passé.  The toll human capture took in the 70s is now multiplied by other numerous issues. Lack of salmon needs to be addressed by dam removal ultimately, but I know it’s a difficult concept to grasp, but how about we stop taking so many? Do sport fishermen need to take thousands, or consumers eat so much? Maybe we start taking care of the rivers still left. Maybe even.. and I know this might be politically incorrect, but why not convince the Lummi to stop, or at least curtail their commercial takes. Hell, I have been told the Lummi believe they are related to orcas… as do I, so why is it a big stretch to stop starving grandma for a while? Mariners can drive their boats with the respect these waters deserve, and give these resident creatures at least the distances demanded by law. I have found the WSF people have been very interested their not being the problem. Let’s get them involved. Oh yeah, keep salmon farms out of the wild. Open pen salmon farming has no place in the wild oceans. I’m just saying….

We can all do these things, some of us might suffer financially, but local culture and island life will flourish. As much as we need to save the orcas, we need to save ourselves. The same way.

As those of us here in the San Juan Islands mourn yet another orca death, we must use this loss to motivate us all to start changing our ways. You know little steps do not hurt so much.

Remember, as the Southern Resident Orcas slip toward extinct, so go we.

No matter how cool your new pick up looks in the yard, or how well your IRA is doing take a minute and look around. We need a healthy environment with all kinds of plants and animals to survive. The three rules of nature are BIODIVERSITY, INTERDEPENDENCE, and FINITE RESOURCES. By wiping out one we wipe out the rest. We need to save what we still have and build from there.

To begin, we must save these damn whales and build from there. I know it is not a human trait, but we must really forget our petty differences and all do our part.  The one thing we can do right now, is stop boat harassment. The locals be they fishermen or whale watchers know the Southern Residents. Instead of zooming to bring hungry tourists close, go the other way. Show some respect and your concern for a future. What a concept?

Young people are speaking out like the young woman from Iceland. I believe we should listen. It is their future. My generation seems to have been ruled by interests alone… what happened to principles?

Young people deserve better and it is time for our voices to actually be heard. Conserve the earth, save the whales,  give us a chance survive and thrive. I personally don’t believe living on Mars is a solution.

The EARTH or Bust!

As the new year approaches, most of us will make New Year’s resolutions. Some won’t eat so much, and some will stop smoking or drinking… After spending the holidays with my grandchildren I cannot help but wondering why we all can’t ignore our petty differences and “resolve” to really buckle down and do something for the earth…  other than bitch and point fingers that is. There certainly is a lot to bitch about god knows, but is it not really time to get things done? Our oceans are dying, is there any hope? Well I believe there is hope if we can all get together and force change.

Maybe it is finally time for something to be accomplished with the 390 Billion dollars raised annually to “save the earth”, one way or the other. 390 Billion, with a “B”, is a lot of money. Where does it go? Most goes to huge salaries for those who beg our donations, or perks for those who pretend to care. For example, I spent a few years working to save baby harp seals. For anyone who was there it was abundantly clear that our efforts quickly became a huge “tailgate” type party for bleeding heart liberals.. All the best restaurants were full, hotels, rental cars, and helicopters booked by the well-heeled eco-warriors bent on showing the heathens the right way to live. Expensive wine flowed as the towns, once empty during March, filled up bringing millions of eco-dollars to the local economies decimated by government mismanagement of the cod stocks…once the cash cow for local fishermen. I know, I know, fishermen are heathens to the holier than thou intellectuals, but did the activists do anything but bitch? Locals played the eco-activists and eco groups like Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace, and IFAW. In the beginning things got done, but once the money flowed in, most “leaders” pocketed the cash and left the arrested kids to twist in the wind. Passion often wins out, but dirty money makes it tougher.

The sealers, although brutal, learned to play the public to keep their new cash cow thriving. “Whack” a seal for the camera, and the dollars would flow. Even today you see baby harp seals being used to gain public sympathy… all for cash. Baby Seals haven’t been killed in years….  Get over it.

Do those of you who donate ever ask or demand results? Oh, environmental organizations have great PR, and spend bundles on slick films and bragging rights to this or that, but do they have any real success? My 40+ years of experience in this department says no. Many of you know that Sea Shepherd Society spent thousands suing me, their longest and most active volunteer for 40 years because I dared disagree with where their money went. It cost me thousands of my own money to defend myself while they freely spent donation money harassing me to shut me up. Our legal system has its good points, but to shut people up through harassment is not one of them. This is all money donated to save the oceans. Tax deductible money at that! Was this a good use of donor money? If you check out NGO IRS tax returns you will see they have budgeted millions of dollars over the years to defend their indiscretions; be they legit or not… just keep that money coming became the mantra of the once pure of heart. It is not so clear in their financials but payouts were made to a number of individuals and, of course , Mr. Watson even tried to “spin” the 2.5 million dollars that was paid to the whalers so that Mr. Watson and others could run and hide instead of continuing to pursue the whalers. Are they in the southern oceans today? Hell no, the last I saw Mr. Watson he was travelling the world in a 3 million dollar yacht accepting awards and acclamations for what? Ego? The crew, while probably cleaning toilets and caring for a sea sick cat, still got to wear the once proud colors to show their dedication. These were kids who wanted to make a difference. Kids recruited for their passion,  co-opted to serve their mythical leader. Much like Captain Morgen the Caribbean pirate opting out of piracy to govern Porto Rico, Mr. Watson now finds himself head of a “cult-like” organization dedicated to his comfort.

Did Sea Shepherd save the vaquita dolphin in Mexico as they claim? This was the campaign I personally witnessed that finally brought home to me how hypocritical we have become. They made films about it, accepted awards, had a villa over looking the coast for R & R, but the dolphin still struggle. They made corporate and governmental alliances against the poor local fishermen… very lucrative for all concerned, except, of course the fishermen. Nothing really has changed … except those poor individuals caught in the middle. Poor fishermen villainized instead of co-opted to actually work on the problem. As a new year begins, it the time for a reassessment on all fronts. I say they accomplished little, except to polish the Mexican government’s image to look green. Why aren’t governments doing their job? After spending time with the opposition, I came to believe most eco groups are as corrupt as the governments they were set up to counter….so why bother?

We bother so future generations might have a real future. Many of my activist friends started during the time when the young people of the US banded together to stop the Viet Nam war. Of course, although we preached being against war in general, most were personally motivated so they would not have to fight. The war was wrong as history attests, and millions joined the fray against it despite their differences. For a time we all banded together, not for a noble ideal, but because we were individually threatened. That’s the truth. Be this as it may, millions rallied to the cause and change happened. Today we need the same dedication… no matter our differences the events of 2020 threaten us all. If individual motives are needed to get people to care, so be it. Today’s eco-war threatens us all, not just college students worried about their own hides. No matter the reason, it is time to take to the streets again; this time making the earth a priority. Change, even though motivated by the very selfish motives that drove us back then, is needed today.

Demand change that will secure a future for future generations no matter the sacrifice for us individually. There is no more room for our garbage. Our greed and consumption needs to end. It is not someone else’s problem… it is ours. Think generations down the road when we make our decisions. As we cart mountains of Amazon packing to the trash, and assess the millions of cheap plastic toys for our kids to break… think of the oceans. The world can come together to condemn Brazil for their exploitation of their natural resources… so why not think for a moment of how we destroyed our resources for our own greed, and try to clean up our act here and make a difference universally.

Have a happy and joyous New Year, and remember as my good friend Doug Thompson said: we are at a cliff. Do we, like lemmings, continue forward to our demise, or do we do a 180 degree turn and change. Change is not bad, and at this time for our civilization, it is necessary. Fear is our enemy, don’t be afraid to stand up and make a difference. Kick the ego driven eco-corporations to the curb, no one else will do it. It is up to each and every one of us to make a difference. As Nike says, just do it!

“so do we give up?”

Having just celebrated Thanksgiving, a holiday that at least gets family and friends together to celebrate our good fortunes through gluttony… you have to love it.  I was in Texas with my family, or part of it and felt privileged to be there. We are very lucky in America to enjoy the luxuries we do.  I realize that I have become more mystical in my old age and have chosen a more frugal existence, but I am still able to travel freely and visit those who I love.

I have been extremely lucky in my life to have a profession that allowed me extensive travel and experiences around the world. The TV profession allowed me time for my eco-hobbies, so I am very thankful for that. I am sure if we all reach deep inside, we all have things we are thankful for. I hope so!

While America appears in the middle of a great cultural divide, it is refreshing to see a young woman from Europe, Greta Thunberg is “human of the year”. Good on her!

Instead of us mature adults taking shots at her naivety, perhaps we should listen. Truth often comes from the mouths of youth. They are not stupid, and believe me, they pay attention. I learned recently from my grand-brats: watching Frozen 2… they are little girls… that I was deemed too ugly to be the handsome  prince. It was decide by all three and then confirmed later at school by friends, that I was in fact better suited as the silly snowman. Ouch! I’m just saying, from the mouths of children…

Anyhow, to date we… my generation, has not done too well when it comes to the environment. It is interesting that this seems to correspond with our “perceived happiness”. Instead of face it, we hide, or worse hope others will save us, and our children.  We have denied climate change by electing the present administration… oh it’s easy to say: ”don’t blame me”, but he won, get over it. No matter who is driving the bus, let’s come up with policies that work.

You know, policies like preserving the wilderness that we have left, rather than exploiting it. I know our economy is built on growth. More people, more consumers, and more consumption means more money, and the hungry snake eats it’s own tail. Although we hope we aren’t there, we are  We are doing it, how’s it taste? Maybe we need to listen to the kids.

I have been preaching public participation and the “hope” for years. I felt that it was happening; but as well-known philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said: “ Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.”

Think about it. Maybe it is the dashing of this hope that is driving the young people to shoot up schools, contemplate suicide, and maybe now they are “playing until the end”… like celebrating while the Titanic sank. Are we there? I do understand that there always appears to be no hope to some. The job is so big, no one can do it. Governments have failed and our schools still teach that we are a democracy… WE ARE A REPUBLIC, even Kenyan Taxi cab drivers know that. Sorry… my pet peeve.

Anyhow back to the subject… My suggestion for the New Year is: Let’s take a step or two from the cliff.

I am not that old, and I remember when everything wasn’t wrapped in plastic… sometimes double and triple wrapped! Did it kill us? I hear about more food issues now. Instead of hoping technology will save us, why not start saving ourselves? I know it is a revolutionary concept, but think about it for a minute.

Wrap meat in paper… take vegetables without plastic bags. Stop ingesting things you can’t pronounce… I mean, minor things really. Also more importantly as far as I’m concerned stop using all this anti-bacterial crap. Read a bit of Dr. Lynn Margulis and realize we are mostly bacteria. The earth is BACTERIA. Trillions of kinds, and all interdependent. We are attached to the earth and all her living things through bacteria. If you believe Dr. Margulis, and I do.

Bacterial DNA passes around like a “barroom slut… male , female, LGBTQ…  whatever. Let’s just say that bacterial DNA gets around. Maybe swapping of bacterial spit so to speak, has a purpose to our very existence?  Bacteria in our bodies outnumber human cells 10 to 1! We are in fact trillions of interconnected little bio-machines.  Why is it out of the question that through years of evolution, our bacteria doesn’t need what the earth gives? And visa versa? Maybe it recharges us?  Maybe it is why people feel recharged in the wilderness? To me it seems clear.

We need the wilderness. We, as humans , should get our tails out in nature, get in touch with it; rather than detaching from it. Wilderness is not something to be feared, but rejoiced. Maybe lie on the grass and check your phone?

Quit hoping others will fix things.  Like that young woman from Iceland, It is time to act not to hide. We are part of the earth. Do something every day to help preserve it, and bethankful it is there. Where wild things live.

 

 

 

Forget your designer shoes… an asteroid is on the way!

As another summer season passes quietly on the water… No Southern Resident Orcas died, and thus none were mourned worldwide on TV. A good thing… The pod hangs on one more summer…, a success to some.  I simply look at it as “dodging a bullet” yet again. For now, the problem is out of sight, out of mind. Instead, the plight of the orca should be front and center in the world news. The survival of such an apex species is frankly of the utmost importance  to our species. I know, I know,  this sounds very dramatic, but it is true.

No matter how slow the impending disaster often appears after each small victory, the “wall of lava” is still creeping down the volcano… just ask Hawaiians facing this reality.

As Americans are involved in all our “first world” angst, fear, and blame passing, we really are getting a lesson in reaction as opposed to pro-action. Didn’t America know the moral and ethical fiber of the present president when they elected him? For the record, I judge my candidates by their environmental policies… so don’t blame me.

With the amount of media blitz we are exposed to each minute of each day we need to step back and focus on what is really important. Don’t listen to the “trend-setters”… get your noses out of your smart phones, and meet people. You’d be surprised how much even the most internet haters on both sides end up finding something in common if allowed to actually meet. Get together on a common love… the survival of us all! We all wants what’s best for us, but “us” sometimes takes our eye off the ball especially in today’s media world. None of this “first world” diversion matters on a dead planet.  I’m just saying…

Maybe it is because of my experience with travelling to some very poor areas of the world and observing real problems first hand, that I am presently so frustrated with the environmental movement in general, and “us” in particular.  So as the EPA is gutted, The Makah are trying to kill another grey whale in Neah Bay, people here debate while the Southern Resident Orcas go extinct. I can go on and on…  “Let’s have a meeting?”

Today with impeachment we are programmed by the media to sit all day feeling helpless that our politicians might be dishonest… Duh!!!!!!!

Now for something that really matters:

It is not time to retreat, and give up. The media does nothing to protect what is really important to us anyway. Give them up, it won’t matter, and you’ll be happier for it. We have been led to believe that the huge eco-corporations were taking care of our interests… NOT!  They proved no better than governments they protested against.

The wilderness, be it oceans or mountains, has been proven healthy to mankind. It lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, and hell it feels great… way better than any smart phone or TV can offer.  It belongs to all of us and the “spirit of the wild” cannot be duplicated by TV, video games, or anything. The wild belongs to all of us. We as individuals need to own it, and protect it like it is imperative for our survival. It is!

I am here, working with www.gaianetwork.net  in Friday Harbor, Washington trying to make a difference.  Human habitation in the islands goes way back with natives sharing the ample harvest of salmon. The whales on the other hand probably go back further. Their “rights” to be here must at least equal our “rights” to occupy the same space. Are they important to us? Hell yes they are. I will not lecture on the laws of nature here, but interdependence, and biodiversity are important to the biological health of the planet, and therefore our health. The whales are important to both.

I feel it important that we all try to look beyond the present monetary gains to be made by exploiting these residents of the San Juan Islands. We would not allow our land neighbors to be exploited as such. If buses flew around the island “observing” local characters with kids selling maps to “resident homes” on every street corner; this would freak us all out. Movie stars put up with this lack of privacy in Hollywood, and it is not fun.  I can at least imagine the whales feel the same.

Might I suggest that it would be best for the whales if we now put aside our petty “first world” differences and all agree to leave them alone. Perhaps make interaction with these beautiful creatures special and not guaranteed for the price of a ticket. In Africa to view mountain gorillas you might spend thousands of dollars to search through the bush for a week and go home with only a postcard. Because the film “Free Willie” shows actors exploiting whales (to save them, of course!), the public feels they deserve to do the same. Unfortunately for the public there are laws that deny them this privilege. They cannot harass whales for the same reason I can’t land a 747 on Hollywood Blvd… Movies are not reality, get over it.

I support no go areas for boats and strict enforcement of present federal regulations. We can all make law enforcement pay attention, and I would hope we make it a badge of courage for local land residents to protect their ocean neighbors, not to exploit them. Visit: www.gaianetwork.net if you want to donate to our cause; services or money. If not, do what you think best… just do something! Be pro-active. Remember, after extinction there is no going back. Then… the finger pointing will expose the dirty truths future generations will shun.

Do not be afraid to stand up for what is right: Armies fighting on many fronts under different tactics and strategies toward the same goal are hard to defeat. We need to only agree on one thing: these whales deserve our immediate concern. Now, do it! Convince your neighbors, and keep up the public outcry to stop any and all harassment of the Southern Resident Orcas.

 

 

Remember the Lorax!

It has been a very eye opening summer here in the Northwest working to protect orcas.  Elsewhere so much more is happening worldwide with climate change, mosquito borne viruses, salmon die-offs, droughts ….you name it. I am amazed there are still so many people denying the obvious. We humans need to step up our game in order to secure a future for our children and grandchildren on this planet.  Think of the LORAX.

The question I get all the time is: “what can I do?” I do believe Americans live in a bubble of media fantasy where our single focus is money. Hell, Donald Trump got elected on jobs, jobs, jobs.. Who cares about health care; even though the stress from these jobs is killing us all. Who cares about old age as we will all be rich and have servants to take care of us. NOT!

As my friend the late Doug Thompson used to say: “there are no jobs on a dead planet.” And he is absolutely correct. There will be no “us” on a dead planet either, and it is about time that we all pay attention. I realize it is difficult to grasp such large concepts… like sustaining life on the planet, but really; it’s easy. Biodiversity, Interdependence, Finite resources…. Pretty easy, huh? The next time someone explains to me that technology will save us, I will scream…  Just ask yourself: “How’s technology done so far?”

Stop blaming others… Now is the time to head to the mirror and ask ourselves, what am ”I” doing?  I know that everyone is busy trying to buy the latest fashions, newest cars, and keep up with the trend setters, BUT please stop and take a good look at yourself. What have you done to make this planet a better place? My wildest dream is that I will leave this planet a little better off than when I arrived…

This is a tough task so I have dedicated my life to it.  I was born in the early 50s so blame me.  It is my generation that has done most of the damage, and it is time for us to accept our responsibilities to actually do something to make this right. To those pessimists who think all is lost and prefer to party until the end: if there is a hell, I hope you will spend eternity there. For my fellow pagans who believe that we come from the , and ultimately go back there… I’d rather reside on a living planet into eternity rather than a chunk of charcoal lifelessly orbiting a fading sun.

There are solutions, and we need to begin yesterday or there will be a lifeless tomorrow. I’m just saying…

We at www.gaianetwork.net continue our efforts to help the Southern Resident Orcas avoid extinction. There are a number of things that have to come together for the orcas to actually have a future. I believe their future is our future… Dams need to be dealt with. Salmon farms need to be eliminated from the oceans. Urban waste and run off needs to be eliminated, and human harassment needs to be stopped. It is insanity to think we can tackle all these issues at once, but we can each take on a part… One at a time, and there are plenty of issues to go around. Get involved. My years of experience tell me that my little group we can tackle harassment… and we will try with our newly established Neighborhood Orca Watch.

This last summer when asked to help with the orcas, I felt it would be an easy job. I mean, who doesn’t love orcas? The public forced marine parks to eliminate shows and captures once and for all. The San Juan Islands are home to these magnificent creatures, and certainly share the guilt of their extinction by exploiting them to begin with. First the public allowed the capture of individuals to be turned into performers at public spectacles. Back then these “shows” were justified as educational. Today they are universally condemned. I like to think we’ve evolved. Evolution is a good thing.

I am hoping that the whale watching industry will begin to lead the way and become a part of the solution. They know the laws and they know the whales… why not make it a point to leave them alone and force others to leave them alone too. This summer we had individuals go out as tourists and ran cameras the whole time. I will not beat a dead horse here, but let’s say the laws that exist were not followed. It is hard to dispute video, and instead of placing past blame why can’t we evolve? I’d like to move forward and get everyone on board to try our absolute best to protect one of this islands oldest residents. The Orcas…  Let’s all prove how evolved we can become. Let’s all do what we can to give the southern residents a break.

 

 

It always takes longer than you think it will!

It is amazing that as one grows older it becomes more and more evident that our grandmothers were right on so many fronts. The older I become, the more I realize “old wives’ tales, more often than not,  ring true. Funny how that is.

This week we are having small victories on many fronts. Here in Friday Harbor our Neighborhood Orca Watch project is being set up and tested. Although way under-funded, a young student Christian Triana , and other locals have volunteered their time and efforts to get it together. Mike of Mike’s Café & Wine bar is, as always, there for the orcas. We will keep plugging away, and hope to gain volunteers aswe make it happen. We have run our tests and are presently seeking “observation” locations.

The citizens of Lopez Island have worked hard to get a protection bubble around the Southern Resident Orcas on the ballot. To date, they have succeeded against numerous obstacles. Although a lawsuit has even been filed to halt their efforts, I believe in democracy, and hope the good citizens of the San Juan Islands will soon be allowed to speak their minds and protect all local residents. VOTE… what an alien concept.

The Pacific Whale Watch Association appears to continue to survive and thrive although the Southern Residents have been scarce to date. I have not seen the southern residents this summer, but it is rumored that they returned in better shape than when they left. It won’t benefit the San Juans, but I hope these creatures have found a more calm environment to live, and more peaceful areas to forage. They deserve better neighbors… a lesson to all.

The tourists continue to crowd the Island to enjoy nature in all her wonderous glory. It is my  hope they leave with a new appreciation of the wild.  The plight of the Southern Resident Orcas; our fellow planetary citizens have energized so many things in so many ways. This is all good.

I will even give kudus to Lockey Maclean and Pamela Anderson for their efforts to end Salmon Farming in BC. They are both with the Sea Shepherd Society and it is my understanding that the M/V Martin Sheen is showing the flag in support of First Nation’s activism. I am pleased to see they were working with Jared Dick and Roger Dunlap. Both of these gentlemen are on the correct side fighting for the rights of the First Nations and wild salmon. Good on you all.

Even though our good President guts the EPA and other government regulatory organizations… maybe it is time for a citizen epiphany? Maybe it is time to finally figure out that we cannot rely on government to protect our well-being. I know it is governments that regulate our finances, the whole smoke and mirror charade that is the stock market… My question is : can we trust anyone who runs a trillion dollar deficit budget? How anyone can survive running that kind of debt is quite frankly beyond me… I will stick to protecting the oceans. That I understand.

I am asking others to join the mission for wild oceans if wild oceans are important to you. All great movements in history are led by individuals, and when last I looked we are all individuals. Each of us brings our own skills, passions, and talents to the table. Together we make families, clans, tribes, and nations. It is easy to look to others to lead, but we must now more than ever look to ourselves. Each one of us can and must make a difference.

Presently our bitching and basic neglect of what is important is getting us nowhere. Step up and speak up. Be it for humanity, the salmon, or the whales; step up. Now is the time to make a difference. While Mr. Trump manipulates the present day media, why not turn off the TV and look at what is really happening. Are your jobs more secure? How important is nature to my kids? Is the government really watching out for you? Is our consumer society making you happy? Do you really want to eat farmed salmon? Do I need everything wrapped in plastic? These are questions for each and every one of us, each and every day.

I don’t really care how you answer. What I do care about is our environment. OUR environment! I emphasize the word “our” because we need to own it, and take care of it.

Together we can make a huge difference.

Peter Jay Brown

http://www.gaianetwork.net

Keep it simple STUPID!

As orca protection gets debated and thrown around Friday Harbor, the orcas are still suffering.

It is my suggestion that we all stop throwing out excuses and reasons why it is someone else’s problem as the Southern Residents slowly disappear. Oh I am sure that everyone will blame someone else when they are gone, why not take another track?

The Lopez group have accumulated enough signatures to put their orca protection initiative on the November ballot despite litigation being leveled against them to stop. I am not a lawyer, and I don’t even pretend to be one, but what is up with a lawsuit to prevent residents from voting? When I last looked the San Juans were American, so let the residents decide through the ballot box without fear of ending up in court. Our American legal system is such that anyone can file a lawsuit for any reason they want. A large group or corporation with unlimited funds can tie up individuals forever. It costs thousands of dollars to defend yourself, even when you are right. In this case no matter the money spent on either side, it is the whales who will ultimately pay.

The governor’s task force and the recent moves by Canada support giving the orcas a break, but with business interests threatened… lobbyists worked hard behind the scenes to get their way.

While whale watching interests and others will tell you that new law proposals are too broad and unenforceable with no money being committed for enforcement… is this really any reason to drop the efforts? I believe no, it is time to redouble our efforts. A 650 yard bubble around the Southern Residents will make up-close whale watching illegal for now, but maybe… just maybe there will be whales to watch in the future. The humans on Lopez are finally looking forward. What a positive concept!

The “unenforceable” issue always comes up when the public votes for change. It came up when states attempted to outlaw smoking in businesses and even on beaches in California. These laws were deemed unenforceable by law enforcement organizations everywhere. Was this a reason to not have the laws? As it turned out smoking stopped without storm troopers or extra cops. Smoking stopped because the public agreed that eating in smoke polluted restaurants, and drinking in smoke filled bars was something we could all do without.  Peer pressure did the rest. We, the public, can and will enforce regulations by the very fact that they are right. Protecting these whales is simply the right thing to do, and we can do it.

We at gaianetwork.net are presently working with individuals and groups toward “peer” enforcement to end whale harassment. Of course although common sense and much science proves engine noise affects orca communication and inhibits their abilities to live, forage, and reproduce, there are those demanding we all continue to swim against the stream. We, as humans, have the right to exploit nature for education and, of course money… enough said. I disagree.

.We do not propose exemptions for film or even research. There is plenty of “up-close and personal” films and thousands of photos for sale, do we need more? How much more research is really necessary? Yesterday I was accused of harassing whale watchers with drones, and driving around drinking wine and harassing the whale watchers at high speed. THIS WAS NOT US!

We are presently working on a shore based operation called NEIGHBORHOOD ORCA WATCH (N.O.W.) with shore based cameras watching the orca’s feeding areas.  We will not become part of the problem to feather our own nest. Once set up, I am sure there will be criticism no doubt, but we will continue to test our concept and hope to get others to help. By just watching and allowing others to watch through LIVE STREAMING, it is my belief that peer pressure will allow the orcas to survive. It is not the solution, but it is a start. Victoria is finally working at cleaning up their act and treating their sewage with a proposed sewage treatment plant. Maybe we can stop consuming so much plastic, dumping used Prozac and other drugs down the drain, and thinking about what pesticides and poisons we use on our properties. Maybe we can limit our take of chinook salmon both commercially and individually and allow the species to come back. I know dams are an issue, as are other abuses, but all of the above are a start. As Buddha said: all great journeys begin with one step. NOW IS THE TIME to take these baby steps no matter what nay-sayers profess. Locally one must only look at the jet ski ban.

We will all change when the orcas are gone as good reactionary humans, but we need to take proactive measures now. Let’s decide to all stop blaming others and take the little steps we can to make a difference. This is how change begins and how change is sustained.

We will continue to try to keep positive and invite all others to join us. The whale watch industry did not go broke the months the Southern Residents were “missing”. This in a way proves they don’t need to “watch” the Southern Residents, no one does. Take a walk at Lime Kiln park and view  the whales from shore. Instead of being driven to view from high speed boats, take a leisurely walk and view nature as it is meant to be viewed. If you want to get close, watch one of the many films that exist. There is beautiful footage available. Watch it and let the “real” animals survive while they still have a chance. In the end when the orcas are gone, it is this film archive that will be all future generations have. I , for one, do not want this extinction on my watch. Film is not nature…not even close.

Think about our footprint on this planet and we will all be better off for it. Be a part of the solution.

Peter Brown www.gaianetwork.net